Knee injury ends Illinois WR Dudek’s season for 3rd time
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois wide receiver Mike Dudek will miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury sustained against Kent State on Saturday, the third major knee injury of the senior’s career.
Dudek missed all of the 2015 and ’16 seasons and five games year due to injuries. In 2014, Dudek led all FBS freshmen with 79.8 yards receiving per game and set school freshman records with 76 catches for 1,038 yards. He has undergone two ACL surgeries since 2015.
Coach Lovie Smith on Monday did not specify which knee Dudek injured, saying it was a “freak accident” late in the Illini’s 31-24 victory against Ken State.
“To be truthful, most of our guys don’t really know about it yet,” Smith said. “We just found out earlier. I know how they will feel. There’s a reason why Mike is popular, he does everything right.”
Wide receivers Dominic Stampley and Carlos Sandy will be called upon more with Dudek out, Smith said.
Immediately after Smith’s announcement, Dudek tweeted: “You can’t allow adversity to define your life. You must take the good with the bad and continue to move forward. I am forever grateful for all the support I have received these past 5 years. Thank you Illini Nation.”
Illinois hosts Western Illinois on Saturday.